Saturday, April 25, 2009

Math is hard

I know that many of my posts seem to be about medical studies, or about how grains are just flat out bad for you.

I think it's important that people know that studies lie, and that the information that's out there right now -- the information that mainstream doctors are using to treat people in this country -- is not necessarily accurate.

I think that's an essential part of starting to understand just why the SCD works for people, and why it's one of the healthiest diets around.

So bear with me. *grin*

This article from the Fat Head blog explains what kind of scare tactics researchers like to employ while talking about their latest study results. Have an excerpt:

Multiplication and division can produce big, impressive-sounding percentages that are in fact nearly meaningless. Here’s an example that helped enshrine the “cholesterol kills” theory:

After a major study with the acronym MRFIT was concluded, the researchers announced that people with high cholesterol were over 400% more likely to die of heart disease. Ohmigosh!! Get me into an Ornish program, now! I must reduce my cholesterol!

That’s a big, scary number. Let’s see how they came up with it.

Over the course of the study, 0.3% of the men whose cholesterol was below 170 died from heart disease. Meanwhile, 1.3% of the men whose cholesterol was over 265 died of heart disease. Over 265?! Dead man walking! Buy your casket now and save!

And in fact, since 1.3/0.3 = 4.33, you could say that 1.3 is over 400% higher.

Now flip the numbers and look at the actual difference. In the low cholesterol group, 99.7% did not die from a heart attack. Among the very high cholesterol group, 98.7% did not die from a heart attack. That’s a difference of 1.0%. In other words, if you go up the scale from low cholesterol to very high cholesterol (nearly 100 points higher), the real difference is that an extra 1 in 100 men died of heart disease. Not quite such a scary number, is it?

and one more quote regarding statins...

"In the study cited by Pfizer, men with known risk factors for heart disease took either Lipitor or a placebo. In the placebo group, barely more than 3% had a heart attack. In the Lipitor group, 2% had a heart attack. Use division, and you get that impressive 36% reduction. But the difference, once again, is 1 in 100, or 1%. Boy, that’s worth giving your liver a major smack-down.

And by the way, the difference in the heart-attack rate for women who take statins and women who don’t is: zero. You can multiply that difference, divide it, square it, triangle it, stick it inside a trapezoid, whatever … you still can’t come up with a reason for women to take statins - ever."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We need grains ... or do we?

Dr. Eades has a great blog post regarding a very interesting paper.

Nutrition and health in agriculturalists and hunter-gatherers

Send this one to a friend the next time they start lauding that laughable food pyramid again.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sweet and healthy

I know I haven't been updating much. I'm in the midst of moving, and I am training for a certain certification at work, so you will all have to just bear with me, I'm afraid. :)

But I had something to share with you anyway!

We just got the TV hooked up in our new place, and my husband and I were watching American Idol. During a commercial break was a promo for the news following. The pert broadcaster simply said, "Sweet AND healthy? Details at 11."

At the time, I was eating mostly thawed frozen strawberries out of a mug. In fact, I had a strawberry speared on a fork as she said this. I turned to my husband, fork in hand. "Hmm, sweet AND healthy...I can't imagine," I said.

He said, "Don't get smart."